Photos: Michael Bleggi
Dresden Dolls frontwoman Amanda Palmer took to Webster Hall last night for the album release show for her new record “Theatre is Evil” with her new band The Grand Theft Orchestra. The event was far from a quiet Tuesday night show to say the least. Palmer’s shows, both solo or with the Dolls, often reach the heights of mini-carnival extravaganza rather than simple rock and roll performance. An entourage of opening acts sprawled out over the course of the night—including ’80s tribute sax duo Ronald Reagan and a surprise visit from Australian Cabaret diva Meow Meow—before Palmer took the stage via crowd surf, emerging from the back of the hall and being carried by fans to center-stage.
The show itself was a blistering set, mostly of new material which her cult audience knew just as well as when she banged through older fan favorites like “Astronaut” and “Missed Me,” the latter of which had her switching instruments with her bandmates for each verse culminating in a bash-out on the drum kit by Palmer.
The white roses and curtains that adorned the stage along with the group’s formal white attire gave the event the feel of either a wedding or some sort of surreal reverse funeral. Fitting, since Palmer had referred to the show as the proper birthplace for the record. Many of the people involved with its creation are from New York City (Palmer is originally from Boston).
While the show itself occasionally dipped into awkwardly morbid territory such as a reading of entries from a box where fans were told to submit their darkest real-life moments, the show was a high energy kick-off to Palmer’s return, this record coming four years after her Ben Folds-produced solo debut. Her new material is some of her strongest and her new band is furious and lean, good enough to engage the audience with new material but also with older career highlights and covers (including one of “In My Room” by Yazoo).
As her new song “Smile (Pictures Or It Didn’t Happen)” goes, we stopped by to get sufficient proof. Check out some of the pics we got from the show below.